Post Sexual Assault and the Benefit of Victim Impact Statements 

Rania M M Watts

The main emotions that were exhibited throughout the victim impact statement contained a mixed grab bag. 

There was: anger, resentment, frustration, induced strength, an understanding of enough is enough and that people who have hurt others need to atone for their crimes. 

As I was listening to the victim impact statement, it was completely obvious that this level of sexual abuse can not only break families but create a distrust of other individuals throughout the course of their life – regardless of who they may be. The main feeling that I had gathered was that these victims who had so bravely come forward only wanted to ensure that it never happened to anyone else ever again. 

There is catharsis in advocacy which affords victims moments of strength post-abuse. One of the victims that I had listened to came forward and said that her abuser first sexually abused her at the age of five years old. 

When she had reached out to her parents to advise them of what had happened (when she was 12 years old), her parents basically accused her of lying. This completely fractured the relationship that she had with her father, to the point that her father was constantly telling her to go and apologize to her violator; as he could not acclimate himself to the fact that he thought his daughter was lying. 

It wasn’t until after it was too late, that the father realized the truth and proceeded to kill himself. 

So not only did this offender sexually abuse the victim but, completely annihilated a functioning family to the point of marrow.  

The victim that I had listened to was hugely determined to ensure that it never happened to anyone ever again; also to fortify a life of strength regardless of what she had endured.

I really appreciate how the victim / survivor wanted to pick up all the pieces of her life that had been shattered and put them back together. 

This victim / survivor did it in a fashion on her own terms. She paid for her own counseling to ensure she was able to move forward from this horrible, horrible abuse.  

Toward the end of the victim impact statement, the Judge turned to the victim / survivor and said, ‘are you filing for any restitution?’. He receded to explain what restitution meant and how it could benefit her, as she was taking on the role of paying for her own counseling. (She no longer wanted anything from her parents because they never believed her in the first place). 

The Judge said, ‘I don’t want to take anything from his children. After everything that this brave woman has endured, she still has the empathy to not want to take anything from his children. A person who completely stands on their own two feet, without the help of others even after a trauma, the strength rose like a true Phoenix from the ashes’.

Any personal opinions expressed in this blog solely belong to the author Rania Watts, and not the Practitioner advertised in this website or social media.    

 Distress Lines 

https://www.healthline.com/health/sexual-assault-resource-guide#crisis-hotlines

https://www.rcne.com/links/sources-of-help-for-survivors/

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2018/01/25/heres-what-larry-nassar-actually-did-his-patients/1065165001/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196064400700540

https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures

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